President Dottie L. King, PhD, a distinguished scholar and an influential leader, brings 27 years of higher education experience to her role as the 16th president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. For more than 11 years, King has served the College as an associate professor of mathematics, chair of the sciences and mathematics department, assistant dean for undergraduate and international programs, vice president for academic affairs and interim president. King was appointed president in 2010.
She earned the Sister Mary Joseph Pomeroy Award for Faculty Excellence, the College’s highest teaching honor, and has also been awarded for her dedicated service. She has delivered numerous presentations and published research on factors that encourage women to persist in their study of mathematics. From 1985 to 2002, King served as an instructor of mathematics at Indiana State University. King studied at Indiana State University, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction/educational leadership.
In these roles, King clearly demonstrates that a supportive learning environment influences an individual’s mindset. She has guided hundreds of women through the complexities of mathematics. Her skills of motivation have also steered math-anxious individuals to high levels of confidence and conviction in their abilities. These efforts prove that young women are more likely to develop their talents and consider a future in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics when engaged in an environment that cultivates growth and success.
Certainly in her role as president, King develops relationships with many constituents. The relationship that she effortlessly embraces is that of a mentor. From faculty and staff to students and businesswomen, she genuinely cares about the growth and personal development of women. She recognizes the gifts and talents of others and helps them to focus on maximizing their potential. There is no formal way she accomplishes this, rather it is a part of her nature. Often it begins with a conversation or through committee work. She shares knowledge and wisdom and draws out the possibilities. She encourages learning and problem solving. She offers academic and career guidance and is viewed as role model for leadership and interpersonal skills.
King regularly seeks opportunities to assist women in the science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) field. As the newest member of the Indiana Girls Collaborative Project Champions Board, King joins the effort to break down gender divides in STEM. The Indiana Girls Collaborative Project focuses on bringing together organizations and programs that encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM fields. Serving a two-year board term, King will help develop creative solutions and strategies to strengthen and expand STEM-related opportunities that inspire and motivate girls.
On behalf of the College, King pursued and entered into a partnership with the U.S. State Department on the international initiative, NeXXt Scholars, to provide young women from predominantly Muslim countries opportunities to earn STEM-related undergraduate degrees from U.S. women’s colleges. Through King’s leadership, the College also is an active member of The Women’s College Coalition, Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU).
In a move that recognizes the concerns of families regarding the escalating costs of higher education, King introduced a new initiative – the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Tuition Promise. Beginning in 2011, the Tuition Promise ensures that tuition for incoming freshmen campus students will remain the same for four years. While many families’ financial circumstances may change in a four-year period, tuition will not. King anticipated this initiative would help to ease the economic pressure of financing four years of college making it possible for those who desire a first-class education at The Woods to not be deterred by rising costs.
Most recently, she has embarked upon re-launching a campaign to building a sports and recreation center at The Woods, called Pomeroy Pride. In itself, it is no small task as she plans to raise $11 million. It is a project that she believes is vital to the future successes of the college and will be an important part of what the campus gives back to the community.
On a local level, King served as a key partner in the inaugural Women of Influence breakfast in April 2012 that showcased the contributions of women who have made the Wabash Valley a better place through their involvement, dedication, caring and skills.
At The Woods, service is an expectation embedded in the mission of the College. King personally embraces this component in her service to the community in helping to make it a strong and welcoming place to work and live. King holds strong the values of SMWC and firmly believes that the College through the tradition and spirit of its foundress Saint Mother Theodore Guerin helps young women and men to find their voices.
Always concerned about the education of young people, she served as president of the Clay County School Corporation. She was a keynote speaker for The Expanding Your Horizons, a conference designed to motivate girls’ interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. Participating in the conference for many years, she led a workshop specifically for parents explaining their key role in facilitating the mindset that encourages and empowers girls in those fields.
King frequently finds ways to give back to the community whether it is through participating as a celebrity gas pumper for the United Way or being part of the pit crew as a band parent, nothing is too big or too small for her to tackle. She is currently a board member of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of the Wabash Valley. Additionally, she is routinely asked as a speaker for service organizations including Exchange Club, Kiwanis Club of Greater Terre Haute and Rotary International.
She has been married to her husband, Wayne, for 34 years. They have six children and several grandchildren.